A recent public letter warning against Brexit argued that EU laws have ‘a hugely positive effect’ on the environment. It was signed by the heads of a dozen green pressure groups including Natural England, the Green Alliance, the RSPB and the Natural Environment Research Council. What was not mentioned was that the European Commission funds eight of the 12 organisations directly.
The last time Britain had to approve a major transfer of power to Brussels was in 2007, when we ratified the Lisbon Treaty. Introducing the Bill in Parliament, the then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, made a great song and dance of quoting a whole range of organisations in favour. ‘The NSPCC has pledged its support, as have One World Action, Action Aid and Oxfam,’ he said, looking pleased with himself. [...] It turned out every organisation he cited was in receipt of EU subventions. Hardly surprising, then, that they should dutifully endorse a treaty supported by their paymasters.
What was surprising was the extent of their financial dependency. When I asked the European Commission how much money it had paid these organisations, it emerged that Action Aid, the NSPCC, One World Action and Oxfam had among them been given €43 million in a single year.
Back in 2003, when the European Constitution was first being drawn up, 200 organisations supposedly representing ‘civil society’ were invited to submit their suggestions on what it should contain. All of them were in receipt of EU grants.
This sounds more like a racket than a government. I would not be surprised if all of it were true.
Earlier: Yglesias makes it big - "how is a journalist able to afford a million-dollar home?"
Vox’s Matthew Yglesias (4/25/16) gave a generous write-up to Goldman Sachs’ new commercial banking subsidiary, GS Bank, without noting that Goldman Sachs is a sponsor of Vox.
Embattled Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca stepped down from the department he's led for 15 years on Thursday. Three of Sheriff Baca's four civilian "field deputies" are retiring with him. You may not know their names, but you have been paying their salaries: a combined half-million dollars in taxpayer money last year alone.
If you have seen Leroy "no" Baca in the news before, it was probably for his Congressional testimony saying that the Muslim Brotherhood does not exist and if they do they're harmless and it's racist to investigate them. Baca has also promoted Scientology. Finding that he is corruptable is not a surprise, it merely makes this a situation relevant to US national security.
Baca's civilian deputies who make more money than any actual cop are:
- Michael Yamaki (see earlier link), whose police job is to run the Riviera Country Club where membership costs $250,000. He drives there and back in his county-issued car and earns $171,000 a year for this service which he has performed since 2005. Oh, another part of his job is to raise money for the Sheriff's Youth Foundation. "When Eyewitness News filed a Public Records Act request asking for Yamaki's work calendars and a description of his job, we were told that neither of those things exist." Yamaki had been the "appointment secretary" to Governor Gray Davis. The Riviera was described by Newsweek as "A Japanese laundry worth $1 billion?".
- Bishop Edward Turner, who makes $105,000 a year for work he has performed since 2000. When ABC called with a question about his charity, "Turner told us that's a question for his accountant. We called, but his accountant hung up on us -- twice." Paul Tanaka, while running against Baca, claimed that when cops in the sheriff's department intercepted $84,020 in drug money sent to Turner's church, Sheriff Baca ordered them to drop the case.
- Tevan Aroustamian, an Armenian community leader involved in a curious incident involving the expulsion of critic Ara K. Manoogian from a meeting of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. Manoogian claims to be a 'human rights activist" investigating corruption in the fund. I don't know enough about Manoogian to judge his character, but I've seen enough fake "human rights activists" to be suspicious whenever I see these words. Manoogian has claimed that 2,000 Armenian women are held as sex slaves in the Middle East.
- Scott Svonkin, Jewish community leader, member of the California Credit Union board of directors, Los Angeles Community College Board member, banned an allegedly "popular" college course on firearms safety on the grounds that schools should instead teach students to vote for laws to outlaw firearms, caricatured as a bully by LA Weekly's Mars Melnicoff.
Interestingly, these stories are being reported only by the ABC News team of Lisa Bartley and Marc Brown, and by nobody else.
And in New York...
Who was Teddy Leb? Teddy Leb was one of the first witnesses in PBS's "The Man Who Knew", promoting the memory of FBI agent John O'Neill. He was a car dealer with such very close relations to the police and FBI that he thought he was an FBI officer.
Leb was briefly arrested for mail fraud involving a $600,000 loan from Chrysler before the charges were dropped by federal authorities. The charges were brought by Reggie Ward of the competing New York Law Enforcement Foundation, who apparently lost $200,000 investing in Leb's business. Leonard Levitt has interesting things to say about Ward, who would later be appointed commissioner of Mount Vernon police.
Leb was a leader of the Finest Foundation, which once hosted a dinner attended by Police Commissioner Howard Safir and "a large group" held at La Ristorante Taormina, "favored by John Gotti when he was running the Gambino crime family" and "declared by the Police Department to be off limits to some officers". Safir responded to the news by suing the reporters. The city pays for twelve men to "protect" Safir after his retirement. Safir has a very interesting background.
Leb left the Finest Foundation at one point and became part of an organization called NY Cops, or the New York Cops Foundation. Others involved with NY Cops include Jim Kallstrom, a target of TWA 800 conspiracy theorists. The Finest Foundation has "awarded" Bernie Kerik, Joe Dunne, Charlie Campisi, Barry Mawn, and Mary Jo White.
More recently, Leb's company Global Consulting LLC received a no-bid contract from the Business Integrity Commission. Leb's company Global Background Screening has received letters of support from Dow Jones security director Peter Brennan, Pentium Fund manager Vincente-Andres Zaragoza, Forbes security director Ron D'Alessandro, Tourneau luxury watch company vice president Michael J. Chapman, and Audi dealer franchising manager Greg Champion.
New York accuses Leb's business partner Howard Weinberg of failing to pay $930,000 in sales taxes. That document gives us the name of a related company, Auto World Leasing, Inc. Nassau County's tax rate is 8.625%, so with Global Consulting's share of that amount being $574,000 in 2013, we can estimate the company's sales at around $6.6 million.
Somebody named Teddy Leb had been director of a Florida company named Auto Europa in 1991. I have no idea if this is the same person or not.
A similar charity, The Police Foundation, is run by Pam Delaney and Valerie Salembier and pays for things from "30 busts of former Commissioner Bernard Kerik" to "the half-dozen detectives stationed around the world in [Ray] Kelly's overseas spy service... [who] were among the first on the scene of the train bombing in Madrid."
The overall story seems to be that rich people can pay the police chiefs to fund special projects that the chiefs want but cannot get the money for from the city, and the rich people can expect to get special favours from the police in return. It would not surprise me if some of these favours included the police looking the other way from certain business transactions.
Off the topic of bribery but still on the subject of police corruption, Adrian Schoolcraft should be a name known in every household.
- According to Daniel Hopsicker, A rumour going around New Orleans twenty years ago held that Barry Seal flew the getaway plane for the JFK assassins. This makes the significant assumptions that there was a getaway plane and other assassins. A little-known fact that should be the cause of much conspiracy theorizing is that Lee Harvey Oswald was from a Mafia family.
- Patrick Byrne alleges that the Democratic Leadership Council and the Progressive Policy Institute are both run by the Genovese Mafia. I couldn't find any supporting source on this.
- Rodney Stich claims the FBI covered up information about al-Qaeda to protect a New York FBI agent from prosecution for his mafia connecions. An FBI agent matching that description, Lindley DeVecchio, was charged with murder in 2006 but the charges were dropped the next year.
- The "Boston Brakes" assassination technique alleged to have been used in the death of Michael Kinsley comes from a work of fiction by way of a a conspiracy-monger with no sourcing. That is not to say it doesn't exist; it's certainly technically possible and I'm sure work started on making it real once the idea went around the web.
"Legal Schnauzer" Roger Shuler has been arrested for writing about Robert Riley in contempt of a court order written by Robert Riley.
Riley [Edit: hell of a mistake there] Shuler was the most prominent writer on the prosecution of Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, which cost him and his wife their jobs.
[Edit 10/27] Aaron Walker comments on the similarity to his case. [Edit #2] And, Robert Stacy McCain suggests that Shuler may be part of the gang involved in getting the court ruling forbidding Walker from blogging about Brett Kimberlin and harassing other bloggers writing about the subject. McCain's evidence is that Shuler has written (allegedly) defamatory things about Ali Akbar who is notable only for forming a legal defense group for the bloggers being sued by Brett Kimberlin, and that someone calling himself RogerS showed up on one of Kimberlin's blogs to praise Kimberlin's RICO lawsuit against Walker and other bloggers who have written about him.
[Edit 10/29] Ken White at Popehat gives his take on the story.
fired deleted a post by writer Danielle Lee for complaining when Ofek, a representative of its business partner Biology Online, called her a whore for politely declining an offer to work for them for free. As the blogger DrRubidium notes, Scientific American has not fired censored its white writers for writing in support of Lee, who is black. Here are Lee's own words on the situation.
EDIT: On rereading, the sources do not say that Lee was fired, only that they deleted one of her posts.
Trevino described it as "a fairly standard PR operation", raising the question of how widespread such practices actually are.
MyDD founder Jerome Armstrong may have also been involved.
The story was covered two years ago by Sarawak Report.
The Washington Free Beacon obtained emails showing media figures conspiring to smear Elliot Abrams for publicly opposing Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. Members of the private mailing list included Atlantic magazine writer James Fallows; American Conservative magazine editor Scott McConnell; probable Saudi agent Chas Freeman, who is in good standing in this crowd; TruthOut board president Robert Naiman; and David Fenton, founder of the Fenton Communications public relations group.
Fenton worked for the Muslim Brotherhood's campaign to open an arms route to Gaza by pressuring the international community into forbidding anyone from inspecting the shipments; this was also known as the "Free Gaza flotilla". The Turkish group IHH was heavily involved in that campaign. From the book Alms for Jihad, authors J. Millard Burr and Robert Collins describe IHH as:
... founded in Istanbul in 1995 specifically to provide support for the Bosniaks [Izetbegovic's forces]. IHH raised immediate suspicions with Turkish authorities, and was eventually closed for a time in 1998 after investigators found bombs in its Turkish office.
Burr and Collins source this information to the US allegations in the case against Aldurahman Alamoudi, who appears to be the same person as Abdulrahman Alamoudi, who incidentally is the link between al-Qaeda and the Republican party (he shared an office with Grover Norquist). Burr and Collins also write about Al-Fatih Ali Hassanein, "a stalwart follower of Hasan al-Turabi" who "was able to maintain contact from Europe with Turabi, Bin Laden, and Shaykh Omar Abd al-Rahman in New York." On Izetbegovic's behalf, Hassanein founded the Third World Relief Agency which became "the principal humanitarian front for moving arms to Bosnia" [emphasis in Burr/Collins], and he was IHH's contact in Bosnia. In other words, al-Qaeda provided the guns, money, and men for Izetbegovic's war; IHH was founded to provide additional support for the war from Turkish sources; and Fenton provided propaganda support to an IHH project.
Fenton is also a big influence in the Democratic Party and has done work for the Huffington Post, MoveOn, People for the American Way, and other Democratic groups. It is a quite loose connection that demands further knowledge before any conclusion can be made on whether Fenton is guilty of anything. Fenton loudly quit the job after it was reported in the press, but it still is interesting that as one walks closer to the social circles Fenton inhabits, one is more likely to bump into fake peace activists who support terrorism and other wars of aggression. For example, J[ihad] Street was founded by a Fenton executive, and we see David Fenton on the same mailing list as the likes of Chas Freeman and Robert Naiman.
An additional matter of interest is that Fenton's involvement with IHH came on a contract with the state of Qatar, suggesting terrorist funding by a state that is supposed to be a US ally.
If you want to go down the rabbit hole in the sense that ingesting certain substances might help, some right-wing sources commenting on Fenton include World Net Daily, Discover the Networks, and the Capital Research Center.
FBI officers who have been accused of obstructing the pre-9/11 investigations:
- David Frasca (books) (web)
- Michael Maltbie (books) (web)
- Mike Feghali (books) (web)
- Marion F. "Spike" Bowman (books) (web)
Ali Soufan's The Black Banners does not mention most of these people (according to Google Books search). It mentions Bowman in one passage:
The first new directive forbade the reading of the Miranda warning to detainees. Henceforth any confessions we got couldn't be used as evidence in any court, military or civilian. (The Uniform Code of Military Justice also requires that subjects be advised of their rights.) After many protested, especially the operatives assigned to various JTTFs who were reassigned to Gitmo, the bureau sent down a senior official, Spike Bowman, to tell us that Washington viewed Guantanamo at this stage as just an intelligence collection operation, and that we shouldn't worry about eventual prosecutions.
Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies does not mention any of the four.
Word on the web is that those accused of the improprieties were promoted by Director Robert Mueller, while the whistleblowers (Robert Wright, Coleen Rowley, Sibel Edmonds) were expelled from government service. At least Harry Samit seems to still have a job.
Ali Soufan blames the CIA for blocking his pre-9/11 investigations, and he also is no longer with the FBI.
In the news lately is the US justice department taking a $2 billion bribe from HSBC bank to drop its investigation of the bank's involvement in money laundering for drug cartels, Islamic terrorists, and state sponsors of terrorism. The popular saying is that the bank's officers are "too big to jail", too politically well-connected to press charges against.
In looking for information on the topic, I found that the story of HSBC's involvement in money laundering was broken earlier this year by the last news organization that I would expect to have a legitimate scoop -- World Net Daily -- and one of the least credible writers in the country, Jerome Corsi, who led the smear campaign against Vietnam War hero John Kerry. Here are links to some of Corsi's articles:
- Banking giant accused of laundering billions
- PayPal, American Express implicated in bank fraud
- Banking giant HSBC 'a criminal enterprise'
The gist is that a former HSBC vice president, John Cruz, left the company with records showing that HSBC opened false accounts for the purpose of money laundering using the social security numbers of HSBC customers. This makes it not only a case of money laundering but of identity theft. Cruz sent the records to several police agencies and news organizations and was ignored by everyone. He wrote a book detailing his allegations and got little attention until WND and Corsi gave him a hearing.
The second scandal
On a second look, the Cruz allegations may be different from what the feds were investigating. The Senate report on HSBC does not mention Cruz or the use of social security numbers but is instead concerned with HSBC sending funds to destinations that are on the Foreign Assets Control blacklist. News reports of the federal investigation tend toward these lines and not those of the Cruz allegations.
So, there are two HSBC scandals: the one in the news and the one that only WND is reporting on.
There may be a link between the Cruz allegations and the HSBC accounts leaked to Hot Doc magazine by Christine Lagarde, for which Hot Doc editor Kostas Vaxevanis was jailed for publishing. On a very brief review, the account holders appear to be people of no note, small scale businessmen and ordinary people. This would tie in well with the Cruz allegations. These could be fake accounts in the names of real people.
Technical details and the lack thereof
According to Corsi, the records of transfers to and from the suspicious accounts are stripped of source and destination. We are shown an image of a report, not the raw data. The database ought to have the source and destination tracking data and some kind of sanity-checking system, as otherwise the system would be so vulnerable to faults as to be too unreliable for any bank to trust. It should also be possible for a database operator to find a matching record in the database for that time and amount of money.
What if the fake accounts are even more fake?
What would stop a bank from simply declaring that it has more money than it does? In normal economics, a debt pyramid collapses when the debtor fails to find new investors, runs out of capital, and becomes physically unable to pay his debts. A bank could create capital as long as it is dealing in debt and not cash. A large bank could, for example, establish a paper corporation to "buy its services" or give it a fake "loan" (with the bank officer embezzling the interest payments) and mark an extra few hundred thousand dollars on its books. Since people in high finance trade in debts, not dollars, no one will call in for their debts to be converted to cash or something tangible.
If this kind of fraud is possible, some of the fake accounts may be well and truly fake to inflate the bank's books and give it more liquid capital.
Somebody using the names "Scott_kevin78", "MrScottsivertson", and "Mr. Sivertson" spammed the same comment accusing Cruz of issuing chargebacks "because he knows how the system works" on the forums below two book reviews and a Youtube video. Might this be damage control on the part of HSBC or one of its clients?
Eric Lichtblau's article in the New York Times, Police Are Using Phone Tracking as a Routine Tool, tells us that telecoms are charging the police fees to search their computerized records. There are several problems with this.
- This is embezzlement. Businesses are charging the state for "services" that are their public duty to perform. Your taxes are going straight to someone's pocket.
- The expectation of a profit establishes an incentive against cooperating with the state in crime investigations.
- This arrangement is an agreement between business and state. It can be assumed that the state is not following the legal process of getting warrants for these searches, which would force the business to release the information.
- It can also be assumed that the state is collecting information that it could not obtain a warrant for and has no right to see.